My Story [Updated 9/18/2013]

[Updated 9/7/2015]

I was born in the summer of 1978 in the small town of Beckley, West Virginia. My parents were only about 16 at the time I was born and were not really prepared to take care of a child at that time. My father had his dad and step-mother watch me for a while until I was about three months old. At that time, my grandparents wanted to adopt me and claim me as their own. The timing of this was right around the time that they had just lost their newborn daughter. So they wanted a child in their life and so I guess they chose me. My father wanted to keep me but my grandmother, his step-mom, demanded that if they were to keep me that they should be able to adopt me. So it was pretty much, he was forced to let them adopt me.

I found out later on in my life that for the first 3 years of my life, they never even took care of me. They dropped me on my step-brother for him to take care of me. Here was a 15 year old boy made to take care of a baby while his parents went out and partied. I lived with my grandparents and only knew of them as my mom and dad up until the age of 11, at which time they told me I was adopted. This was a shock that took a long time to understand and to get over. My brother was really my dad and I had no clue.

I had a lot of issues growing up that made life even that much harder on me. There was a really deep dark secret that I never told ANYONE. A secret that was slowly eating me up from the inside and made me feel like I really wasn’t supposed to be in this world. That secret was that I had always felt that I should have been born a girl. That I was transsexual, but I had no knowledge of that word from my protected little world that I was forced to live in. I realized this about the time I was 7 years old while I was finally free to explore everything in the basement of our house at the time.

I was being raised by overprotective and abusive grandparents to the point I really had no outside contact with people for the majority of my life. I spent the majority of my life alone in my room, playing games by myself. There were a few times that I was able to interact with people, but only for very short periods of time. I was constantly being praised as being so good and held on a pedestal to other people but after the people had left, I was the worst thing in the world. I was constantly told that I was stupid, useless, good for nothing, waste of space, lazy and plenty more.

There were so many rules to follow that it was hard to know what I could do since I couldn’t do much. Wasn’t allowed to: put my feet on the couch, get dirty, play in the rain, play in the snow, go farther than they could yell for me, have friends, have anyone over, go over to anyone’s house, be loud or even slightly loud, and the list goes on. I was supposed to go off in my room and play quietly and not bother them. I never had friends and never knew what it felt like to have any.

It wasn’t just verbal/mental abuse from them either, it was even physical abuse. If I was in trouble with my grandfather, I would be whipped with a leather belt after pulling my pants down. If it was my grandmother, she would use the same belt but would make me tell her why I was being whipped and she wouldn’t stop till I told her.

I wasn’t allowed to make my own decisions or to do anything I really wanted to do. I was always made to feel like I was useless and wasn’t capable of doing anything on my own or for myself. I was always told to be quiet all the time and couldn’t laugh or play loudly inside. I could only play loudly outside and then it was only if they couldn’t hear me from inside. If I was even slightly dirty when I came in from playing in the yard, I would be in deep trouble for that. Grounded or whipped for messing up my clothes.

I was promised so many things in my life by my grandparents and so many times I was let down by them. Everyone in the family thought that I just had it made and got everything I always wanted. Sure I had a few nice material things but I lacked everything else that I really wanted. Material things can’t make up for the emotional needs that a child needs/wants.

I was the outcast of the family because everyone thought I had it so well and I didn’t have to worry about anything and that it was all just the perfect life. The many times I tried to tell other family members and to reach out for help, only to be told that I am just making it up to get attention. How could someone who has everything they could want/need have the kind of issues that this child was saying?

My life in school was just as bad as it was at home. I was always being picked on and bullied. I was never left alone and always ended up with no friends the whole time I was in school. I was tall and never had the fancy clothes or dressed like other kids would. I wasn’t allowed to pick what I wanted to wear so it was what they wanted me to wear. I was the quiet one that just did the school work and left. Eventually, I ended up on homebound schooling in the middle of ninth grade. I was 15 years old when I went on homebound, and it was all due to various problems that several doctors had found.

At the age of 15 was a MAJOR turning point in my life. It was at this time that everything had reached a boiling point inside me and I felt as though I was going to just blow up from all the stress from my own internal struggles/issues and from everything that was still going on around me. By the time I reached my 16th birthday, I had managed to keep everything inside and I ended up locking everything inside me forever. Ever since that time, I have never really unlocked or faced those issues. It was like I emotionally and mentally just shut down and resigned myself to watching the world pass me by.

Eventually, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and ended up becoming bedfast. My grandfather wasn’t in very good shape either as he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. And to top it all off, they both had really bad eyesight. My grandfather lost one eye when a doctor tried to remove a cataract from his eye and decided to never get the other eye fixed. So it ended up being me that took care of them every day, 24/7 and with not really any help from anyone else. Sure they had a company coming in to supposedly help them out, but they never did their job. All they did was come in and do a couple small things then sit down, watch TV, and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes.

Yet again I would try and reach out to the rest of the family for help and yet again I was rejected. Everyone thought that I was useless and lazy so this was a good time to make me do something for a change. So for over 12 years I would spend every 20 minutes running back and forth doing things for both of them. I was losing what little bit of sanity I had left in a very short time.

So with all the extra stress of doing everything they needed and dealing with my issues, I was about to break. I asked for help and pleaded for help from other family members, but it always fell on deaf ears. I needed a break and no one was going to help me out. I was falling deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit that was consuming me. I saw no way out and only several ways to end what was going on. I had ended up in a crisis center after almost driving the car into a pole at about 55 mph. I wanted it all to end, I was tired of fighting and having to put up with everything else that was being dropped on me.

There is one thing about my grandfather that everyone in our family knows about him and that is his love/lust for money. If you try and get even a dollar from him, he will get seriously upset. He will give you money but you must offer to do something for him that is 100 times more then what he gave you. Like he promised me that he would buy me a vehicle of my own since I was 15 and he finally got me one when I was 29. The catch was, I was only going to be able to keep it for three months, and then he let it go back since he gave me the ultimatum that I could either keep the truck or have my dad come in from Seattle. So just like everything else he “gave” me in my life, he took it away too.

That is how my life was; he would give me something then take it away. Or he would get it then guilt trips me into doing things for them above and beyond what I should have been asked to do. Since he done this to everyone around us and in our family, no one wants anything to do with them and chooses not to even visit because they can’t stand him.

In early summer of 2008, after spending three days walking back and forth from my grandmothers room and back to mine, I finally got the nerve up to tell her what was going on inside me for so many years. So as I was sitting on the side of her bed, I talked to her for hours about the secret I had kept from everyone. I told her all the things I felt and all the reasons I thought I was transsexual. I showed her documentaries and read her information to help her understand it, which she ended up finally understanding and accepting me. So my secret was out, at least to my grandmother and grandfather, and was on what seemed like an ok path.

I had come to the conclusion that when my dad came in to visit from Seattle, I was going to go back with him. I wanted to move as far away from them as I could possibly get and not look back. I moved to Seattle Washington to be with my father to learn about him and for us to connect and bond. That was in the summer of 2008, I was 29 at the time. There was also another reason I wanted to come to Seattle, transgender resources.

When my full brother found out I was here and came to visit, it was great to see him again after so many years of not seeing or talking to him. He was in the Army and was doing really well in it. But everything fell apart when he heard about me transitioning. He was worried about what his kids would be exposed to and he was pissed at me for various reasons, so he pretty much disowned me.

In July 2011, my grandmother died after a very long illness. My grandfather told me that she died because she gave up because her only reason for living (me) had left her.

Then in August 2011, I was sexually assaulted outside of this local place that I frequent. (Yay for adding more to my long list of reasons I have PTSD, thanks jackass)

So August 2011 wasn’t very good, was hoping that September would be better. Who wants to take a guess as to what is going to come next?

In September 2011, I am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder which blew me away. I come home from my counselor’s appointment and tell my dad the news, to which he says “I wanted to be diagnosed with that!” After that little discussion his attitude and body language just change so drastically. After a bit of discussion over money, my dad kicks me out of the house and I am now living in the basement of a family friends.

I find out later that since I am no longer in the picture, my dad and my brother are now doing things together again, and my dad and step-mom are no longer blocked from contact with his kids now. Something else I managed to cause to happen to my family.

I ended up in the ER in late November 2011 with gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed. The surgery was on December 6 and I recovered pretty quickly, thank goodness.

In September of 2012, I finally won my hearing for my SSI case. I was finally awarded my SSI after so many years of fighting for it.

In October of 2012, my grandfather passed away in a nursing home after a very long battle with prostate cancer and heart problems. He told me in September that he was glad I had started getting my SSI and that now he could die peacefully knowing I was now going to be ok.

In July 2013, I decided to move back to Beckley, WV. I used the money I got from my grandfather’s life insurance to make the move. It wasn’t the amount I was supposed to get but every bit helps. I miss both of my grandparents very much, even after everything that has happened. Things have been progressing slightly as I am on a waiting list that is shorter then it was in Seattle for housing. Hope to have news soon as to whether I will get one or not.

November 2013 I went to stay with my biological mother for a few days since my friend had to have inspections done on his apartment. He wasn’t supposed to have anyone else staying with him but eh, you know. After getting to spend some time with my mother, we decided it would be awesome for me to move in with her and so I did.

March 2014 I am diagnosed with Schizophrenia due to the audible hallucinations of my childhood. The constant replay of all the negative things that everyone at school and then at home had said to me. Think of everything negative that has been said to you, in their voice and tone, and have that replay over and over in your head 24/7 and you would be in my world. Some days you can hear the sounds of everyday because the volume of the voices are low enough to not be heard as bad. But then you have days that you just want to knock yourself out to get them to shut up or at least stop yelling it at the top of their lungs.

I had a bunch of stuff here about me not taking my meds and stuff which I still do sometimes. I removed most of it mainly because it was totally irrelevant now that my life has started turning around and things are going better for me.

I have this repeating trend of getting close to people and then pushing them away. I feel I am destined to be alone the rest of my life, since there is no way anyone could be with me in this broken state. I can’t be outgoing at all, I can only be shy and withdrawn no matter how hard I try and push myself, and so that limits my chances of making friends.

Through all of this I am still alive and trying to move forward. I have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), Bipolar II, Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder (Severe Depression), Gender Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia. This has all left me a rather lost soul in a big world that I am far from prepared for. No knowledge of how to deal with anything or of what to do. I feel like even though I am an adult, I feel more like 12.

I don’t know what love is or what it feels like. I don’t know what it means to really “feel”. I am tired of being numb or just sad and broken. I wish I could really feel something, anything besides depression and sorrow. Really want the flashbacks of everything that has ever happened to me to stop showing up every time I try to get close to people.

Oh and **** you if you think this is all for a ******* pity party. This isn’t here for a pity party or sympathy or anything like that.
jennykitten78 jennykitten78
36-40, T
24 Responses Jan 31, 2011

Dearest Jenny, I'll go into more detail later about my life's experience but I just want to ecourage you to try and put your past behind you as difficult as it may be and try to move forward. Shame on your father, shame on your grandparents and shame on the rest of your family for not being there for you. What your grandparents did in hiding your father's true identity was cruel and selfish and your father going along with it shows his cowardness and lack of manhood. Then he had a chance to make it up to you, he once again failed to man-up to his obligation of help taking care of his daughter. The nerve of your grandfather playing the guilt trip card of making you feel like you're to blame for the passing of your grandmother, shame on both of them and don't you dare feel guilty for trying to find some happiness in your life, your grandparents are not your responsiblity!<br />
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After all you've been through, it's time to think about Jenny and do what makes Jenny happy!!! Go somewhere and leave it all behind you and start a new life and don't look back. There's a big world out there just waiting for you to explore it, life is only what you make out of it. Don't dwell on your past, it will only weigh you down and hold you back and you wont never find true happiness or make real friends. Just count all that a lesson and know that you have been made stronger because you're still standing!!!

Thank you for writing your story. I am glad you are doing progress and that you are going to counseling. Healing is a process that will take time. I am happy that you are meeting nice people here that you can relate to and motivate you. *HUGS

Your past is horrible..but you are a really strong stand them all. Your present is full of struggles..but you are a'll definately overcome all the obstacles. And,your future..well,we'll pray together to god to make it the best...keep holding on..i wont say that i can understand wat u've been through cos i've never experienced anything so bad. It'll be a plain lie if i say "i can understand"..but yes,i know ur hurt badly and i really feel sorry for you. Plus,i really want u to be happy,healthy and safe...take care..keep wishing and keep hoping.:-)

Jenny, as I was reading your story a thought crossed my mind; is it possible that you know that you deserve good things in life, but feel that you don't? that maybe you're repeating the lessons that your grandfather taught you? I thought also of the myth of Tantalus, surrounded by what he needed, but because of being chined down (bogged down?) unable to quite get it. Just thoughts, but maybe something to take up in therapy.<br />
I wish all success and happiness, Jenny.

You are so brave and generous to share your story. You write extremely well and you should be proud of that. You have a lot to be proud of just making it through all this. I hope you keep us updated on your life. I have a similar story to tell and have not yet gotten the courage to put it all down. Maybe I will be able to after reading your story. God bless.

Jenny sweetheart.. first thank you for sharing your story. You are a survivor and i am in awe of your courage and your strength. if you ever need to talk please send me a PM. I am here for you. I know what it is like to be abused. sending you warm hugs ♥♥♥

what a touching story en am sure your somebody we went the same life i was born in1982 my mum was 14years by then en iwas brought up by grand parent life was not that good coz my mum was very yough en my auncle were aganist me bit ma granny protected me she loved me as if am her daughter but thanks be to ma lord coz am somebody now am married en working i know what youve been through but all in all God is there to pprotect us

i am really sorry to hear about u. my friend life is like you think about brave and feel that all universe is your. one thing i must say to you that in every morning you must go for meditation.definately it will help you.take a long breathe and make concentration after this imagine that you have thrown all the past thing definately you will feel nice. think that everyone is yours and yo are for everyone

Thank you for sharing. I was abused as well, but I walked away four years ago and I haven't looked back. I am not taking care of them, they are no longer my problem. I, too, live in West Virginia. I was forgiving of my mother for way to long, but she never changed. She has taken food right off my kids table, and I decided I wasn't going to be used anymore, nor am I going to be forgiving, every time I did, she just took more of an advantage of me and my family. I can relate to your story all to well. I used to live in Logan County, with my great grandma/grandpa, until a certain age when mu mother decided to come get both, my brother and me. We would have rather stayed where we were, nut we had no choice, The last four years having NO contact, has made me feel better as I am no longer letting her use me for money and other things as well.She doesn't live but a little more than 14 miles from me, but she doesn't come here, b/c I would have her arrested, and I don't go there.I am much happier now, and do not regret my decision, as I have gave her too many chances to act like a mother, she simply doesn't want to try to change her behavior, so I AM DONE!! I hope you find happiness and some peace,

Stay strong dear ..

Hi Janny,<br />
<br />
It is realy hard to remembr and live with your bad memories of the past. To tell you the truth, I had much more sad stories of my child hood. I grown up with my uncle with mental disorder. My father sent me to my uncle hoping that I will grow with better education as my parents were living in rural area where basic facilities were so minimal and also to assist my uncle who was living without children in the town. <br />
<br />
for what ever that happend to me in my childhood I was also playing my role of stupidity. For all of abuses that I experienced the majority were my mistakes not my uncle. <br />
<br />
Now I am a self confident bachlor of age of 42 forgetting all my bad past but living the present and the future. I am bussy and do not have time for regret and blame. I am married to my profession and happy.

hi jenny:<br />
I read your story and I really feel sorry for you child life i lost my young age life in a battle i always think that what ever happened to me it is too much it destroy my personality but what happened to is more serious

things can only get better for you from now on.hope you are getting to enjoy life now.i can relate to a lot of what happened to mom and dad were both abusive beatings mental sexually .i was picked on by other kids and was afraid to defend my i too have issues. good luck honey

Jenny you tell a sad story. It would surprise you just how many people are tortured in life. To a small degree I too had my challenges. I knew early on that not all people lived like mine did. I was ridiculed several times by my parents and it hurt, why couldn't they have chosen more supportive language to describe the point they were trying to make. It is like I can still hear those words after all these years. I have learned not to define myself from my experiences, but rather to see that I am the conscious being above all experiences. I often tell my wife this same line of reasoning when she comes in from a hard day at work. She finds comfort and safety in this logic that provides her the energy to carry on. It creates a perspective whereby she is looking down on the events of her life, and she can choose to play them like a chess game instead of her being the unconscious victim of other peoples meanness. All love and graciousness to you and yours.

jennykitten78 kept popping up as a friend suggestion from EP so I decided to see why we have so much in common. Now I see why. I was also diagnosed with PTSD and continuously work to let the past have as little effect on my present as possible. <br />
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In childhood you were supposed to have been nurtured and molded into an adult capable to navigating the world with confidence. Instead, you ended up having to take care of your abusers. Now you have to nurture yourself and do the work to help yourself that should have been done for you. I sense that you have the ability to do just that. You have a lot a work to do but never stop fighting!! You can do it and you are worth it. Get as much help as you can from a good therapist. Also, as harsh as this may sound, take responsibility for your own happiness. I wish I'd had that advice many years ago. Try everyday to maintain a positive inner dialog. You can contact me anytime to talk. Good luck Sweetie

Hi Jenny,<br />
You and i have alot in common, thanks for sharing

Hey,sounds like your upbringing was a nightmare,credit where credit is due,you are well able to write and express yourself with honesty and candor.I admire the way you have come through this wicked upbringing andyou are doing well to talk about it and get all those pent up emotions off your chest,Well done,you are a true asset to this site.

JennyKitten, You are a very brave 32. You and I have much in common too. Thanks for sharing.

Jennykitten, you are a very brave, courageous person and I admire your will to survive.

Hello Jenny!<br />
<br />
I read your post and I can't imagine how you must feel after all that happened in your life but there are quite a few similarities with my past (the isolation, the violence). Reading you story I kind of see the things that I do have in my life and that I don't thank for enough.<br />
One of the differences between my story and yours is that I didn't have to take care of anyone but myself so far. I did work hard for school but without a real good method. I never realised what school is good for: I would go because I had to. <br />
I know though how humiliating some of the things you went through are. I wont name them cause just naming them it feels like delving in the past too much.<br />
I also know what it is like to have to struggle each day to live: I myself have to work out my motivations and use my desire to live more. I don't know if you are like me but I know I have a desire to live a beautiful, normal and decent life. Only I'm not used to using that as a force to get through the day. I've learned to be overly serious but I want to learn to laugh too.<br />
There would be a lot more to say only I feel I am taking too much space here. I will write my story for this group someday when I'll feel I have all the pieces of the puzzle. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! Take care and God bless!

Thank you all so much, it is a struggle to live each day but I am making progress with the help of a few family members and a very special friend.

sorry it happened if youever want to talk feel free to write i and abut 5 hours south if you

I am sorry this happened to you. Stay strong, You'll be taken care of now!

OMG! All I can say is wow! The long term damage that your childhood has caused you can probably only be matched by the amount of guilt your poor father must be feeling for subjecting you to his parents. I am so sorry that you had to endure such torture but I have every faith that those childhood adversities that you faced are what will prepare you to be better equipped to handle the adversities you will face tomorrow. Good Luck to you on your journey :-)